Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Marks of the Early Church

Over the past eighteen months I have become a fan of the writings of Pastor John H. Armstrong of Act 3 Ministries. (Thanks to William for introducing me to Armstrong's ministry.) Armstrong's ecumenical outlook is fresh and, in my humble opinion, absolutely Biblical. His latest weekly series is on the Early Church and their idea of the word "catholic" in the Creeds of the faith. He opens the article with several quotations, and this one spoke especially to me:

"You did not first learn the Lord’s Prayer and after that the Creed; but first the Creed, from which you should know what to believe, and afterward the Lord’s Prayer, from which you should know whom to invoke. The Creed outlines the articles of faith, whereas the Lord’s Prayer tells you how to address your petitions; because it is the man of faith that has his prayers heard." -- St. Augustine

The entire article can be read
by clicking right here. It's food for thought for every Protestant, especially every evangelical and challenges what we think about unity within the Church. He specifically mentions the inherent danger (perhaps too strong a word, but then, perhaps not) substitution of the words "Christian" or "universal" for the word "catholic" in the Apostle's Creed -- which has indeed occurred in my own evangelical church at times.

I've just added the weekly Act 3 Ministries letter to my Google Reader so I'll never miss an issue. You may not always agree with Armstrong, but he certainly gives us much to ponder about how we live our Christian lives and how we consider Christians of different traditions.

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